Public voices health concerns over 5G in Chicago

Residents in Chicago are voicing their concerns about possible negative health impacts of millimeter wave 5G after Verizon and Sprint turned on their 5G networks in parts of the city.


The Chicago Tribune reports that some residents are worried about potentially unsafe radiation exposure due to the increased number of RF antennas deployed throughout the city to support mmWave 5G networks.


Joel Moskowitz, a public health expert at the University of California at Berkeley, told the Chicago Tribune that studies indicate short-term exposure to mmWave radiation may produce effects on a person’s sweat glands and eyes; and Suresh Borkar, senior lecturer in the department of electrical and computer engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology, told the Tribune exposure to mmWave radiation might increase the temperature of a person’s skin. The report also notes that other health impacts were found to be associated with earlier generation wireless technologies.


Communities across the world are becoming increasingly concerned about radiation exposure from 5G, as operators begin deploying small cell infrastructure. Two federal lawmakers in the U.S. sent a letter to FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr asking for guidance on the topic in late 2018, amid rising concerns from their respective constituents.


In Europe, strict radiation guidelines in places like Brussels and the major cities in Switzerland are preventing operators from rolling out 5G networks using mmWave technology.


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The CTIA said exposure to radiation from 5G technologies is comparable to Bluetooth devices and baby monitors, and emphasized that there is no scientific evidence indicating adverse health effects from exposure. mmWave radiation is also widely used across airports in the U.S. in full-body scanners.


“Following numerous scientific studies conducted over several decades, the FCC, the FDA, the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society and numerous other international and U.S. organizations and health experts continue to say that the scientific evidence shows no known health risk to humans due to the RF (radio frequency) energy emitted by antennas and cellphones,” the CTIA told the Chicago Tribune.